Beltwide: Technology, marketing, finances The 2001 Beltwide Cotton Production Conference's general session will feature the most intensive involvement ever by U.S. cotton industry members, especially producers.

Twenty innovative producers from across the Cotton Belt are scheduled to share their insights on (1) the future of cotton breeding and improvement, (2) technology's role in least-cost cotton systems, (3) the role of fiber quality and (4) trends in cotton marketing.

The four panel discussions included in the meeting, Jan. 10-11 in Anaheim, Calif., also will feature ginners, merchants, cooperative officials and one textile manufacturer along with research, Extension and allied industry representatives.

That session is part of the 2001 Beltwide Cotton Conferences, which are being held under a theme of Possibilities, Progress, Promise, Jan. 9-13. The National Cotton Council (NCC) is the primary forum coordinator.

"The growers on our program planning team wanted to hear about technology, technology and more technology and ways it could be used to reduce their inputs," said program coordinator Anne Wrona, who serves as the NCC's manager, cotton agronomy and physiology. "This conference will look at new technologies, such as transgenics, and at some variations of older technologies with the aim of improving the overall use of farm resources and moving growers forward to profitability."

Wrona said that while agronomic practices will be the forum's cornerstone, emphasis also will be given to ways for improving fiber quality and marketing efforts.

On Jan. 10, Lake Providence, La., producer Donna Winters will moderate a panel on which her neighbor, cotton producer Jack Hamilton, will be joined by a seed breeder, geneticists and seed company representatives in a discussion on how to insure that needed cotton varieties are brought to market.

Another group that morning will discuss the use of conservation tillage, gin process control, irrigation, row spacing, sod-based rotations, transgenics, precision agriculture and other technologies under development as means of least-cost cotton production and sound stewardship of resources. On that panel, moderated by NCC Board Chairman Ron Rayner, an Arizona cotton producer, will be El Campo, Texas, ginner Jimmy Roppolo and producers: Ted Sheely, Lemoore, Calif.; Ken Van Loben Sels, Los Banos, Calif.; Mark Williams, Farwell, Texas; Kenneth Hood, Gunnison, Miss.; and Joseph Boddiford, Sylvania, Ga.

On Jan. 11, producers Wiley Murphy, Tucson, Ariz.; Eddie Smith, Ralls, Texas; Larry McClendon, Marianna, Ark.; and Louie Perry, Jr., Moultrie, Ga.; will join ginners Michael Hooper, Buttonwillow, Calif., and Van Murphy, Quitman, Ga., and textile manufacturer, Harding Stowe, Belmont, N.C., for a panel discussion of how agronomic and ginning practices affect fiber quality. Alabama producer Jimmy Sanford will moderate.

Another panel that day, moderated by Texas producer William Lovelady, will cover today's evolving marketing tools and services and what changes can be expected. Joining Gilliam, La., producer Danny Logan will be cooperative executive Bruce Groefsema, Bakersfield, Calif., and merchants Edward Price, Kinston, N.C.; Robert Weil, Montgomery, Ala.; and John Mitchell, Memphis, Tenn.

Also featured in the general session: (1) opening remarks by NCC President Robert McLendon, a Leary, Ga., producer who will talk about progress in technology; (2) a report on Bt refugia for 2001 by Clarkedale, Ark., producer Allen Helms; and (3) Memphis merchant William B. Dunavant's insight into cotton's global marketplace.

Other key reports that morning will focus on: the possibilities for transgenics, risk management tools/strategies for producers and Cotton Incorporated's production research by Corcoran, Calif., producer James Hansen.

The production conference's afternoon special sessions will focus on harvest aids, Bt cotton resistance management, cotton yield monitors, options hedging, farm management/finances, new developments from industry, crop insurance and e-commerce. Workshops will be held on crop management problem-solving, the World Wide Web of Cotton and the Internet, which will include free time to navigate.